Is evolution a process or the result of a process?

The inanimate aspect of the world we see around us, as far as it is about life, has nothing to do with evolution by natural selection. Evolution by natural selection applies only to life — specifically the variety of life that is made of DNA and genes, which is pretty much the only kind of life human beings know about.

The inanimate world — rocks, weather, celestial phenomena — can be explained using other theories like cosmology and geology.

Now, to answer the question — every process is a result of another process. The problem is when we assume that something is done — that it is over, that the result has come out and what we have in front of us is the final version.

In this context, the unspoken assumption is that evolution is a thing — something that has come into being and is done. While the theory of evolution is one of the most robust scientific frameworks we have to explain the world, evolution by natural selection isn’t really a final version of anything.

Is a flowing river a result of the mountain or is it the result of the processes that formed the mountain? Is the mountain a mountain, or is it a stepping stone in the process that will one day create a new continent? Is a continent the final step of a process?

Evolution happens because some forms of matter react in certain ways in the presence of certain natural laws. It is a process as well as a small part of a much larger process. There are no results except those we label as such.

#definitions, #evolution, #processes, #science